A Scary Situation

Today is Halloween, a holiday of costumes, candy, and scary movies. My family has enjoyed scary movies over the years, though not necessarily on this date. However, the theme has me thinking about the scary situations that you’ve encountered, or maybe those that worry you in your job.

I don’t worry about too many scary things in my job. I do get some anxiety before some presentations, and there are times I’ve been nervous before recordings, but it’s helpful for me to remember that none of these things are likely to be remembered for long if I do make a mistake. There’s just so much content produced every week.

That thought didn’t help me years ago when I gave a keynote at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta. Most of the 600 people in the audience didn’t bother me, but my wife was there to see me for the first time and that was scary. I had to talk to myself before I went on, reminding myself to relax and just deliver the talk I’d prepared. Fortunately, I didn’t mess it up and she enjoyed it.

As a developer, I haven’t been too scared when writing or deploying code. I came into this business watching so many bugs get thrown over the wall and deployed that I rarely worried something I submitted would have bugs. I knew there would be bugs in some code, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. Others would have reviewed my code and when a bug report came back, I’d just write new code that solved that bug (and hopefully didn’t introduce others).

As a DBA, the scariest times are when you actually have to restore a database that matters. I’ve had CEOs, VPs, CTOs, and plenty of managers in between staring over my shoulder, asking questions or commenting on the importance of the act. When you’re bringing back a database with a bunch of log files, that creates some pressure and stress. Lucky for me, I’ve been able to perform well in those situations. If I hadn’t, perhaps I’d have never started writing or built SQL Server Central.

What are your scary stories today? What things make you nervous or create some anxiety? I think the scariest times I’ve had in a few jobs were when companies were reorganizing and looking to lay off a portion of their staff. Those are never good days, and while I usually survived, the stress before knowing that was very scary.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

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2 Responses to A Scary Situation

  1. I too use to do public speaking engagements/training for a reporting tool that my former employer made available for use with it’s primary accounting software and the first few times I was nervous but because I knew my shift I could be confident . I also used a magic trip in the presentation about how important it is using the right tool for the job at hand and once you get teh audience to laugh (because you wanted them to laugh) it can make things easier. Eventually I quit being nervous even when doing the thing at the vendors large annual user conference where I’d have several hundred people at my presentation. One year I got the award for best presentation (something judge on by teh attendees). Personally I think it was because of teh 8 foot long McDonalds Straw I used as the magic prop that did it.

    What is/was scary for isn’t DB restores but the one time my current employer had me recover/fix a DB that had been corrupted because of a blackout (no APC backup). I tried my best to convince them to just restore from the last backup and loose an hours worth of data but they were dead set on not doing that. I was certain it would eventually come back to bite us in the butt. Thank God we’ve not had any issues since and that was 8 years ago.


    • way0utwest says:

      Nice that you enjoyed speaking. I have found it to be scary and also very rewarding. glad the recovered db is doing well. Hopefully that continues while you work there.


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